Best News All Day 3-26-13


Being a superintendent of schools is a pretty thankless job. There is never enough money. Everyone is constantly second-guessing your decisions, from teachers to the school board to the average citizen who knows next to nothing about education. And when you try to make improvements, shake things up for the overall good, parents, kids and teachers fill a large auditorium or gymnasium or hearing room to talk about why the improvement plan is such a bad idea — often before hearing all the details.

Hudson Superintendent of Schools Brian Lane is trying to make a change, to improve student test scores by restructuring the early education model in his town. Will it work? Maybe. But first he has to convince the people who live in Hudson to let him do it.

— In case you missed it, WMUR interview with newly elected Manchester City Democrats Chairwoman Liz Kulig.

— Not quite New Hampshire news, but a rare white coyote was found in Kennebunk, Maine.

These photos of Cranmore Mountain’s annual pond skimming event over the weekend makes you realize the North Country is totally having more fun than we are this winter.

Another blow to charter schools. And the university system.

— The Manchester Superintendent of Schools candidates got a taste of the job Monday night.

— Last Thursday, I attended the Portsmouth Pecha Kucha (pronounced Puh-CHA Koo-CHA), a sort of TED talk thing that actually began before the whole TED talk thing was a thing. My favorite segment was presented by Jane Seney, educator, tour and docent program director. A Manchester native, Seney spoke about how her view of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House has changed over the years. It was enlightening and made me realize how rich in art and architecture Manchester really is.

Best News All Day 3-20-13


I start today with a little news from Vermont. The Valley News reports that The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury had made the finest beer in America, according to Beer Advocate. Its Heady Topper IPA got a score of 100, making it one of the finest brews of all time. It can be seen above, being enjoyed by some young, hip folks on a warm summer day (remember those?). The photo is by Vermont photographer Emily McManamy, who also has a great blog you should check out.

— In education, there are those that feel small class sizes are key, while others say it’s having a good teaching, while others say good outcomes depend on a great school leader. But what just about everyone agrees upon is that providing children with quality education at an early age produces higher student outcomes in later years and is well worth the investment. Consider that as you read this article in the Nashua Telegraph about Hudson’s lagging elementary school standardized test scores. Statistically, Hudson shouldn’t be performing so poorly. They do not have a large minority population or a large population of poor. What is it that sets Hudson apart, besides the fact it did not offer public kindergarten until three years ago?

— Everything you wanted to know about Portsmouth’s parking problems but were afraid to ask.

— NH House drops the proposed gas tax by a few cents, but Senate Republicans say the increase is dead on arrival.

— Nice piece in the Conway Daily Sun about the defeat of turning back on the trail, even if it’s for the best.

—  Convoluted winter parking rules and inner-city residents who don’t always mind the winter parking ban make for hundreds of cars towed each winter in Manchester. Police Chief David suggests hiking the towing fees to cover police costs (and perhaps increase the deterrent factor?). Commenters on the Union Leader website are howling, but I counter these complaint of rate increases with: how about not getting towed in the first place?

— Manchester Fire Departmant suggests going out to bid for ambulance service, perhaps suggesting support for dumping AMR. Too bad Rockingham Ambulance went out of business.

Dan Bergeron will replace departing Manchester Ward 6 Board of School Committee member Donna Soucy. Bergeron is a board member of the Machester Transit Authority and has two children in Manchester Schools. His addition comes just in time, as the school board will soon vote to hire a new superintendent.

Opening this piece, however, is a bit about an expensive and completely ineffective attempt to computerize and consolidate the city’s records, from the City Clerk’s office to the Planning Department. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a company or a government agency go down the path of converting to a terribly designed and ridiculously expensive computer platform or piece of software. I don’t know if this is the responsibility of a group like the Better Business Bureau or if this is a private business venture, but whoever comes up with a platform/system/software rating system small-medium businesses and governments alike can access to determine whether the super-expensive new system they are buying is not a piece of crap will be lauded as both a hero and a genius.

Best News All Day 3-19-13




If you ask the people who deal with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission everyday — bartenders, restaurant managers, store owners — many will tell you it’s an agency that could use a total overhaul. If stories like this continue to emerge, a total overhaul may be forthcoming.

— I recently wrote here about budget talks and how residents are asking and voting for more spending. This isn’t everywhere, as we see in this story about Goffstown, but the House Finance Committee heard on the Seacoast to stop with the state budget cuts. My theory isn’t so crazy, even for New Hampshire, as this Washington Post story notes.

— Things at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard just went from bad to worse. At least we know this guy didn’t do it.

— Concord Monitor, this is nice work.

— Lebanon College gets a boost from the Cos.

— Sunshine Week is over, but it’s worth taking a look at the work the Nashua Telegraph did to celebrate. Here’s a piece about transparency in the NH Legislature.

— More bad news for Portsmouth’s most famous breakfast place. Also in Portsmouth, the City Council recently learned the middle school addition will cost another $3.3 million. Yikes.

In Portsmouth it’s Parking


One of the most important skills someone could possess is how to properly read an agenda. Sometimes buried deep in the procedural lies a nasty little nugget that at around 10 p.m., launches an hour-long discussion on some hot-button issue most people didn’t even realize was going to be discussed that evening.

Portsmouth Herald reporter Charles McMahon caught the little nugget in this week’s Portsmouth City Council agenda. Here’s a good breakdown of the details.

As reported, the city is reviewing its options for more parking since a garage in the Worth Lot was shot down. It now has it’s eye on Parrot Avenue, which is very close to the tony South End neighborhood. Lest we forget what happened when another large public building was proposed and built down the street? I wish the City Councilor’s luck.

Best News All Day 3-4-13

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge over the Pisctaqua River in Portsmouth, new Hampshire.


Have you driven over the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge recently? It’s the one that connects the Route 1-Bypass from Portsmouth to Kittery. You know, the one that keeps closing down and is in a constant state of repair because it’s a rusty heap. Yes. That one. As efforts to replace the bridge ramp up, it looks like New Hampshire is going to have a tough time convincing Maine to go halfsies on the multi-million dollar replacement project, seeing as New Hampshire is getting way more out of the deal, according to a new study. (photo by Jerry Monkman)

Also around the state this morning:

— Driving through Concord on I-93 is a traffic nightmare anytime of the day, but I’ve always kind of liked the view of the city from that highway. The backs of all those old, brick buildings makes you feel like you are sneaking up on the city, getting a glimpse of the real, working side of the capital. The Golden Dome may be where all the action is in Concord, but driving past on I-93, it merely shimmers in the background.

Apparently city leaders don’t see it like I see it and are looking at sprucing up the view of downtown’s backside.

— Immigration reform is never high on the issues list when New Hampshire residents are polled, but there are many people in this state affected by these policies. Nashua Telegraph covers an immigration reform rally in the city Saturday, which provides a rare glimpse at New Hampshire’s immigrant population and the problems they are facing.

— A new bill could require high school students to take four years of math (ugg.) But a recent study suggests reports that students are entering college woefully unprepared in math may be overblown.

— I wanted to post something about the upper Seacoast region…Dover, Rochester, Durham perhaps. But is making it very difficult. Fosters, if you are going to have a pop-up on your homepage, users should be able to “x” out of it so they can see your product, not take me to some weird page deep within your site. Just sayin’.

— Elizabeth Kulig was elected Manchester City Democrats Chairman over the weekend, beating out Mike Farley, city dem’s former secretary. This 21-year-old is the youngest person elected to the post. Also worth noting, Alderman Garth Corriveau addressed the committee.

There’s been some peculation about what Corriveau’s ambiguous video message to his peeps meant last week. My guess is Corriveau still hasn’t made up his mind, though he’s really thinking about it. What he has to decide is whether he thinks his chances of beating Mayor Ted Gatsas are good enough to give up a relatively safe seat on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Best News All Day 2-26-13


Good morning. Another snow storm is on it’s way tonight, so I’ve included a few stories you may have missed (and I definitely missed) from this weekend. Consider it a little extra reading for you while “working from home” tomorrow.

— White pine trees in New Hampshire are stressed out, according to UNH scientists.

— GREAT Nashua Telegraph web front page today. Plenty of good reads, including the piece on the Mont Vernon GOP gun raffle. It mentions recent controversy with these kinds of gun raffles and has a quote from Manchester GOP moderate Chris Stewart warning this may not be the path Republicans want to keep going down.

— NH Supreme Court rules the Nashua Telegraph did not defame a man when it erroneously reported he cooperated with police. Plaintiff argues, it’s defamation if you’re in prison.

— Comprehensive look from Union Leader business writer Dave Solomon breaking down the natural gas/Power New England/deregulation issue. Also, a little more background from New York Times.

— There are plenty of good stories about the local impact of sequestration. Here is the official White House fact sheet for NH.

— From Concord Monitor Sunday paper, great Ben Leubsdorf interview with interim LGC head and all around obscure government agency fixer, George Bald.

— NH DOT Commissioner Chris Clement to speak about NH’s state of transportation at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce breakfast tomorrow. In the press release: New Hampshire has approximately 17,000 miles of roads, turnpikes and interstate highways and 3,795 bridges. “These structures are essential to our state and their deteriorating condition is a threat to our economy.”

— And my personal favorite, Nashua residents push Board of Public Works to hold its meetings at a reasonable evening hour, not in the middle of the work day. Former Alderman Dan Richardson adds this complaint (from Maryalice Gill at the Telegraph):

“When you read the formal Board of Public Works meeting minutes for that particular meeting, you’ll find absolutely no hint of public participation via that letter. It was as if no letter even existed. Is that what the mayor considers satisfactory public participation? It sounds to me like an official’s attempt to wash the official record of any public dissent.”


Best News All Day 2-25-13

Breaking Bad Wallpapers Mobile-710591

Good morning. Today marks the first installment of my new series of (semi-) regular morning news round-up posts, Best News All Day.

Now, New Hampshire is a small state and there isn’t always a ton going on here. I would, however, like to use these posts to shed light on more interesting and less reported stories. So here we go…email me at is you have any feedback.

– The New Hampshire House is considering an idea that would even make Walter White‘s skin crawl (at least in seasons 1 and 2).

– Portsmouth has hired a new parking director. He has suggested some good ideas, like a shuttle and bike share. Hopefully he will find peace with the angry vegans.

– Rochester School Board has been trying some pretty innovative tactics to improve attendance and student performance, but is that change coming too quickly for some?

– For your daily politics fix, this NHGOP complaint filed with the AG is breaking. Perhaps the complaint should be amended to something like: “for filing a budget we don’t like.” I’m not sure, though, if that’s against the law.

– A Right-To-Know violation hearing got ugly in Marlborough. No offense to my former UL colleagues, but I think you buried the lead here. There was a request of all town records from 1960 to present? That seems like a lot of casual reading. Which then resulted in this? (From the UL story today:)

When releasing the records, Select Board Administrative Assistant Sandra LaPlante gave “all sealed non-public town records from 2002 and 2010 in the electronic records. LaPlante said she did not realize she had released the confidential information (until the petitioner) listed it as a right-to-know violation in the contempt of court motion last June.”

Good day and happy reading.